Sex on the Front Page of the Newspaper: How Headlines Attract Readers

Anyone who reads it, you know what I’m talking about. Since the bad weather dried up and they milked Margaret Thatcher’s funeral and the Boston bombings for all they were worth, recently Metro editors have decided the front page should be either court rulings about sex or studies about sex or just anything to do with Sex really.


Since you probably can’t see it (making my spending a whole ten seconds scanning it in in a desperate attempt to make this blog more visually interesting a complete waste of time) it’s about a study done saying more and more children as young as ten are either having sex or sending sexually explicit pictures of themselves or porn to classmates.

Now this article will provoke one of two reactions in most people.

REACTION#1: Oh my God that’s terrible, it’s because they’re teaching sex education to younger and younger children.

REACTION#2 (the more intelligent reaction): Oh my God, that’s terrible, it’s because sex is taught to children as biology (and not very well at that) and they are not being taught the emotional significance of it and just see it as something that makes you a grown up and if you do it you’ll be considered “cool”.

There is a third reaction though, which is my one:

REACTION#3: Why the hell does this need to be on the front page of a newspaper?

What went through Metro editors’ heads when they decided the front page, the most important page of a newspaper, should just be some random stuff about sex? Its been happening a lot lately, the issue surrounding sex depends on what day of the week it is. They did this the other day with some court ruling test subject about rape where they ruled technically failing to withdraw when you’d agreed to do so and getting a girl pregnant is technically classed as rape. Thanks for telling me but I didn’t need to know this or be given the mental image of someone failing to withdraw. I couldn’t find a copy of it to scan in but I don’t need to because my only question is why am I meant to care? Its the front page, is there not that much important stuff is happening? I mean you can do an experiment with this morning’s Metro if this front page sex thing isn’t your bag, tear the front page off and now the most important story of the day is a man who made the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle has accidentally broken it.


Aww, it’s so cute you think that’s an important story Metro editors…. okay, you see what I’m getting at yet at about The Metro ought to be printing fluffy light hearted articles for the 7AM crowd? That’s what we want when we’ve had barely any sleep and are drowning ourselves in coffee, nothing serious, just a nice man doing a jigsaw and oh crumbs, it fell to pieces.

The thinking is that a newspaper going on about sex will get people to buy their papers and if it’s prominently displayed, then you’ll have a subconscious emotional reaction that will draw your eyes to that particular word. Watch:


There, because I printed the word sex in a large size font, your eyes were immediately drawn to it for at least six seconds while you were thinking about not just the word sex but what you connect to that word. If I could see out of this website and watch you reading this then I would have timed how long it took you to move onto this paragraph and it probably would be longer than you’d think. Printing the word sex or words associated with sex immediately catches people’s eyes. Whereas if I did the same thing with something else like say:


You don’t care nearly as much and just absorbed that I printed the word carpets in a large font immediately. Why have you done that Stuart? Why have you printed the word carpets in a massive font? It does not incite any degree of thought in me. To prove a point, that’s why. The word sex caught your eye, the word carpets just made you think “…yep, that’s the word carpets”

Although your reaction to my printing the word sex in a large eye catching headline does change based on what you put next to it. Eg.


Now you’re thinking “Oh my God, how terrible, children and sex, two things that shouldn’t go together, it’s wrong!” You’re not thinking about what I’m writing though because I haven’t attached a context to it or given a reason to get emotionally invested. It’s just a general sense of what you associate with those two words, which are just words. It’s an emotional trick to get you reading the paragraphs that follow, you have no connection with what’s being written, its not a story. The only extent to which I care about the issue of younger and younger children having such an immature attitude to sex is my offering the opinion that it’s because they aren’t taught sex in the right way not that its being taught at all like some people think, all I can do is offer that opinion as I don’t have any focal point on this issue, its just a vague study, a set of statistics, no concrete story, by what I’ve been given it might as well be a fairytale. The point is, telling us this on THE FRONT PAGE doesn’t make things any better, the front page is meant to be the most important one. The front page should be the biggest issue of the day that people are meant to care about, not a general set of nonspecific things that we can’t do anything about and is just kind of hopeless and there to make us go “oh how terrible”.

The Metro editors are only doing this because they think they have to conform to the rule that sex sells because they want people to pick up their paper. What they fail to understand is since the Metro is free; it doesn’t have to be this monumentally tedious and base. They aren’t trying to profit here, they can publish anything they want and we’ll still read it. They don’t have to put this on page one, print something that actually makes us think, not just to provoke a random opinion. If it’s a no news day, give us a dog that’s learnt to do backflips, a new species of flatfish has been discovered, we are trapped on a train for an hour, remind us that the world outside is at least still interesting.

Really though, if The Metro think they have to lower themselves to the level of general pay 10p per tabloid fare when they’re actually in a position where they don’t need to pander to people’s genitalia like this, you might as well replace every other word of the front page with something sexual if all you want is people to subconsciously look at your paper for an extra six seconds.


LAWYER’S NOTE: The legal department of has been legally obliged to acknowledge that the photograph in the above parody article is completely unrelated to the article it accompanies.

ZoneOneRadio: Zone One Digest: Digest the Year on ZoneOneRadio: 2012

Zone One Digest – Digest the Year on ZoneOneRadio: 2012Or you could have a listen to the full version complete with musical interludes on

Greetings Internet! Well, we’ve gone through the thousands and thousands of awesome shows Zone One Radio’s made in the last year, some good, some downright weird, and some that we can’t even remember making. Now, here it is, cuts from the first full year of the Mayor of London funded community radio station for Central London.

I dug out the fruits of our very first production training session, along with:

#LondonGP interview with Motorsport legend Damon Hill

#WorldwideRoutes set out on musical exploration with David Bailey MBE

A compilation of some of the most questionably tasteful bits from  #InGoodTaste

And to round off, the one, the only Mayor of London and former Starbucks barista for the day: Boris Johnson

Along with some other odds and ends.

Happy New Year and look forward to loads more great content coming your way in 2013! and